Social Work Knowledge Areas
Students take courses in the social work knowledge areas of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Welfare Policy, Research in Social Work, and Social Work Practice Ethics.
Human Behavior in the Social Environment (HB/SE)
Social work practice of any kind requires an understanding of the factors that may enhance or impede the optimum development and functioning of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
The courses in this curriculum area teach human growth and development throughout the life cycle. The major objective of these courses is to enable students to acquire empirical and theoretical knowledge about individuals, groups, organizations, and other collectives so that, as social work practitioners, they can apply this knowledge analytically across diverse client systems and fields of practice.
After completing the courses, students will be better prepared to solve social work practice problems based upon knowledge drawn from the social, biological, and behavioral sciences. Students are also expected to be able to evaluate the utility of various theories and identify gaps in knowledge. Each student is required to take a one-semester HB/SE foundation course in the first year (HB 720), and a one-semester advanced HB elective.
Human Behavior in the Social Environment Course Offerings*
- SSW HB 720 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
- SSW HB 723 Adult Psychopathology
- SSW HB 727 Child Psychopathology
- SSW HB 735 Racial Justice and Cultural Oppression
- SSW HB 741 Family Violence in Society
- SSW HB 743 Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants
- SSW HB 744 Spirituality and Social Work Practice
- SSW HB 746 Resilience Across the Lifespan
- SSW HB 749 Social Perspectives on Health and Illness
- SSW HB 750 Organizational Behavior and Culture
- SSW HB 751 Human Neuropsychology
- SSW HB 752 Exploring Race, Ethnicity, and Culture through Narratives: Clinical and Human Behavior Perspectives
Students are also required to take HB 735 Racial Justice and Cultural Oppression. This course seeks to analyze and evaluate the social, cultural, political, economic, and intrapersonal contexts of racism that affect our current policies and institutional arrangements, and the intersection of racism with other forms of oppression.
Social Welfare Policy
Courses in social welfare policy comprise conceptual, substantive, and analytical material.
Students are exposed to multiple understandings of urban social problems and approaches to addressing them through public policy, as well as to the current constellation of policy interventions affecting particular populations and problems. They also study different ways of analyzing and appraising social policies in their formation and implementation stages.
Social Welfare Policy Course Offerings*
- SSW WP 700 Social Welfare Policy I: Conceptions, Scope, History, and Philosophies of Social Welfare
- SSW WP 701 Social Welfare Policy II: Contemporary Social Policy Analysis
- SSW WP 703 International Social Welfare Policy
- SSW WP 704 Social Policy and Programs on Aging
- SSW WP 705 Mental Health and Social Policy
- SSW WP 706 Social Welfare Policy and the Family
- SSW WP 707 Social Welfare Policy and Programs on Children
- SSW WP 710 Family Law and Children’s Rights
- SSW WP 711 Substance Abuse Policy
Research in Social Work
The research curriculum is designed to foster students’ understanding and appreciation of a scientific, analytical approach to evaluating clinical, programmatic, and policy interventions. The goal is to prepare students for the role of “practitioner-researcher.” A practitioner-researcher applies research concepts, methods, and findings to inform practice and is capable of adding to the knowledge base of the profession.
The curriculum examines both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Emphasis is placed on the appropriateness and importance of both methods of inquiry to social work practice. Critical discussion is also undertaken regarding ethical standards in the conduct of research on human subjects, the importance of culturally sensitive research, and the role of research in combating or perpetuating stereotypes, discrimination, and oppression.
In the master’s degree curriculum, 6 credits are required in research. The program consists of a one-semester, 3-credit introductory research methodology course, SSW SR 743, followed by a one-semester, 3-credit data analysis course, SSW SR 744.
Research Course Offerings*
- SSW SR 743 Introduction to Social Work Research I
- SSW SR 744 Social Work Research II
Social Work Practice Ethics
This required seminar is intended to inspire the moral imagination of social work students, and prepare them for competent and compassionate ethical practice as professionals. Ethics and the Social Work Profession (SP 741), examines the issues of social work professionalism, the process of becoming a social work professional, the tensions inherent in the goals of social work, and the ways these interrelate to produce conflicts of values and ethics in social work practice. The course focuses on acquiring and practicing the skills of ethical decision making, including values clarification, application of ethical theory, utilization of codes of ethics, and models of ethical analysis. Both clinical and macro aspects of social work are explored, with an emphasis on the contemporary challenges of practice in multicultural and urban settings. Issues of self-care, impairment, licensure, malpractice, whistle-blowing, and other professional challenges are explored. The course is set in the advanced curriculum as an integrative capstone experience, designed to be concurrent with the student’s final semester in the MSW program.
Social Work Practice Ethics Course Offering*
- SSW SP 741 Ethics and the Social Work Profession